Young man left blind in one eye after attack in restaurant

2018-09-21 16:14
PHOTO: Supplied

PHOTO: Supplied

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


UniZulu accused in hospital after mob attack over alleged killing

2018-09-18 10:01

A University of Zululand student accused of stabbing a fellow student to death is in hospital under police guard after he was attacked by fellow students.WATCH

A 24-year-old man from Vereeniging, Gauteng, who was attacked in a restaurant in Vanderbiljpark earlier this month may lose his sight in one eye after it was penetrated by glass in the incident.

Lourens Koster (24), a former student at Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion, who was attacked on 1 September, says he needs at least four more surgeries in an effort to restore his sight.

He tells YOU that he was having a drink after lunch with a friend and his girlfriend at the River Palace in Vanderbiljpark.

“We were chatting when a man showed up out of the blue and joined our group,” he says. Lourens alleges the man was drunk from the get-go.

“At one point he bought us another round of drinks and we were getting along well. Later, at about 3pm, we started talking about religion. Suddenly he got up and walked away.”

He says the man had been outspoken about his religious views and he believes he’d left the conversation because he became annoyed.

But a few minutes later the man returned and without any warning hit Lourens hard on the back of the head. Lourens’ head hit the table and broke a glass, which then penetrated his eye.

“I don’t recall the pain at all,” he says. “I just remember the blow – and how completely unexpected it had been to be hit from behind like that.”

Martin Ruppel, who owns the River Palace, tells YOU he wasn’t at the table when the incident happened, but he’d heard the blow and breaking glass from metres away.

“I ran to the table and immediately realised what had happened. I grabbed the man by the arm and told him to leave immediately, he’s banned from my restaurant,” Martin says.

Martin says he called his son, Shaun, to apply first aid.

“We didn’t immediately realise the severity of Lourens’ injury. If we’d known, I wouldn’t have chased the man off. I would’ve kept him there until the police arrived.”

Lourens’ right eyeball was sliced in half by a shard of glass and soft tissue at the back of his eye socket was also damaged.

“There was blood everywhere – we couldn’t stop the bleeding. That’s when I realised how serious it really was,” Martin recalls.

Lourens was taken to Cormed Clinic in Vanderbiljpark where he underwent an emergency operation.

His eyeball was sewn back together to prevent the loss of his eye. Although the 24-year-old has lost the sight in his eye doctors are hopeful a cornea transplant could partially restore his sight.

“We’re waiting to see if a transplant is a possibility. If it is, I’ll be able to see shapes again, but I’ll never have full sight in my right eye again,” Lourens says.

The transplant is planned for the first week in October. In the meantime, Lourens is recuperating at his mom Caroline’s home. He says he’s trying to stay positive and is using this down-time to consider his future. He was forced to quit his studies earlier this year after he broke his hand.

“I think the most important thing is to not let these things get you down. That’s why I’m using this time to think things through. Maybe I’ll go back to chefs school, but maybe the future holds something entirely different.”

Police spokesperson Sergeant Gertrude Makhale confirmed to YOU that a man was arrested earlier in the week in connection with the attack. He’s been released on R2 000 bail and is due back in the Vanderbiljpark magistrate’s court on 18 October.

The suspect’s name is being withheld to safeguard the investigation.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.